I’ve been potty training my baby since she was born, I’ve been reported to social services but nappies are much crueller

A MUM has told how she has been potty training her daughter since the day she was born – and says it makes her life so much easier.

Billie Turner, a single mum-of-two, 39 from Sheffield has been relying on a technique called elimination communication rather than putting her newborns in nappies.

The method, favoured by comedian Katherine Ryan, sees the child learn how to use a potty from an extremely early age.

Parents watch out for signals that their child needs to go to the toilet and give them the chance to use the potty, rather than get used to doing it in their nappy.

Billie, who works as a cleaner, began using the method with her eldest daughter Bess, now four years old, after struggling with traditional nappies.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Billie says: “I didn’t actually try it with Bess until she was two months old when I kept experiencing nappy leaks.

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I was desperate for a solution so I asked a parenting group for advice and someone suggested elimination communication.

“I owe that woman so much because it totally changed my life and I’ve almost totally abandoned nappies since.”

Billie learned to recognise Bess’ signals and would hold her over a bucket whenever she needed to go to the loo.

Amazingly, Billie even claims that her eldest was able to tell her verbally when she needed the toilet. 

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NHS potty training timeline

The NHS says most children are potty trained between two and two-and-a-half, saying: "Remember, you cannot force your child to use a potty.

"If they're not ready, you will not be able to make them use it.

"Most parents start thinking about potty training when their child is between 2 and 2 and a half, but there's no perfect time."

By age 1, most babies have stopped doing poos at night

By age 2, some children will be dry during the day, but this is still quite early

By age 3, 9 out of 10 children are dry most days – even then, all children have the odd accident, especially when they're excited, upset or absorbed in something else

By age 4, most children are reliably dry during the day

“I remember at four-months-old Bess was saying ‘P-oooooo’ when she needed to go,” Billie says.

“Every time she went she said it – it was amazing for a baby that young.”

While Billie learned to master the art of elimination communication, it wasn’t without its complications.

“It doesn’t always go to plan,” Billie admits.

“Once when Bess was around five months old we were on the bus and she hadn’t been for a wee before we left.

“Suddenly I had to dash off the bus and pull her bottoms off. I held her to the wind and she peed straight away.

“Everyone around me was so shocked but I didn’t care it was a success for us.”

Despite a few hiccups, when it came to the birth of her second daughter Burgundy, who is now two months old Billie immediately started what she calls ‘age appropriate potty training’ as she argues that using a potty is totally carer dependent rather than relying on the baby being trained.

She says: “I constantly have a bucket with me that I carry around the house so that I can be ready at a moment’s notice when she needs to go.

“Since she was born there have only been two poos in a nappy.”

Billie has even found a way to fit elimination communication into her work day.

She explains: “When I’m at work as a cleaner, I just lay a folded piece of flannel in the lining of her sling and get to work with her on my front but the flannel won’t catch anything more than a leak.

“But it doesn’t often happen as I have learnt that when she gets fidgety that generally means that she’s ready to go.”

I constantly have a bucket with me that I carry around the house so that I can be ready at a moment’s notice

The mum-of-two admits that she does relent to nappies at night time, prioritising her and her children’s rest  above potty training.

“I do put a nappy on at nighttime because getting proper sleep is more important, happy mum happy baby as they say,” she says. 

“I try to prioritise sleeping and relaxing in the evening.”

While Billie is quick to wax lyrical about the benefits of elimination communication, fellow mums are not as eager to ditch the diapers just yet.

“I have shared my method on Facebook and I have had a lot of stick,” she admits.

“One woman had a real go at me for believing that this would ever work.

“People really wind themselves up about it, I have even been reported to social services for elimination communication.

“I had to explain that it’s not potty training in the traditional sense and that there was nothing wrong with my approach.

“Honestly, what did people think we did before nappies were invented?”

Billie’s stance is incredibly clear when it comes to nappies.

“It was the environment that really drove me away from nappies,” she says. 

“The amount of plastic in them is terrifying and biodegradable nappies are just out of my budget as well as being harsh on a baby’s skin.

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“I save myself so much money now too, at least £125 a month on nappies alone.

“I was using reusables with Bess and was going through three washes a week on her nappies alone – think of the energy bill in this current climate!”

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